The Latin American economy is said to be prepared to cope with difficult times, and equally optimistic is the outlook for developments in the metals and mining industry, according to Juan Carlos Guajardo.

Representing B-CESCO, Guajardo is a Copper and Mining Industry insider and has just described both the state of the metals and mining market, and the potential still be explored during his presentation on the gasworld stage.

Attentive delegates, from more than 20 countries worldwide, heard how Latin America accounts for around half of the global copper mining output and there is still further growth to come in this industry.

Furthermore, there is much optimism for metals mining in the region and potentially, an attractive investment climate.

Guajardo explained, “Something we all know in terms of figures, is that copper mining is practically half of revenue generated in Latin American countries. In terms of metals, Peru is very active in gold production. In terms of silver production, we see that Mexico and Chile are among the top five countries in the world.”

“In terms of copper mining, we see a special situation in Chile. This situation is particularly important to the study. The development of the mining sector in Chile since the beginning of the 1990s is what we see as very important. Production has grown by many thousand of tonnes in recent years.”

“In terms of Latin America, we have 57% of the global market. The region is very attractive, Latin America is a region which is special geologically.”

Noting the healthy position that the region’s metals and mining industry finds itself in, Guajardo added, “In truth, Peru has great potential for gold, in the case of Argentina we say there is around $7bn in investment. Most of this investment is in the Chilean side and less is on the Argentine side.”

“Brazil, similarly to Chile, has a state company and is more consistent in its investment plans. There are few changes in its investment plans in light of the financial crisis, as a result of this consistency.”

Looking ahead, and Guajardo concluded his positive presentation with a view of the market going forward. He said, “The forecast for growth in Chile in the mining industry continues to be good, however since other areas are not growing so much, the overall growth in Chile could probably be better.”

“We are very optimistic. There is a note of optimism for what is coming after the first part of this year, which will be difficult.”

Meanwhile, independent Business Consultant Eduardo Pelitti followed-up the positive presentation of Guajardo with his assessment of the Drivers for Growth in South America and noted how it is important to remain optimistic even on the face of the global financial crisis.

Adapting to change
Pelitti has more than 20 years experience in the gases business in South America, including spells with both BOC and Messer, and described how the industry has endure similar spells before.

According to Pelitti, it is not all doom & gloom and furthermore, the Latin America region has already learned its lesson where such problems are concerned.

“In 2008 we saw the end of worldwide growth and so we saw an uncertain panorama. To predict the recovery is very difficult, no-one has a crystal ball to see what is going to happen. The consensus of the hope is that by the end of 2009 there will be a recovery, or at least the recovery will start.”

“Companies in Latin America have learned from our own experiences in the region. We also have learned that is a cyclical process, there will be ups and downs.”

“In Latin America we are used to adapting and not everything is bad. There will be opportunities for growth just as there has been in other crises, there will be opportunities to grow and much more.”

Pelitti added that overall, the expectation is for further growth in South America, albeit at a somewhat slower pace.

“We expect Latin America to grow and the gases industry here to grow, it will grow lesser than in the past but it will grow.”

“To end my presentation I would like to say that the market will need the ability to adapt by everyone, the market will tell us what to do. The industry has shown the ability to develop during difficult times and the development of application is an area which continues to grow during hard times,” he encouraged.

Earlier in the day, leading Chilean economist Michele Labbe provided the first presentation of the gasworld South & Central America Conference 2009 and discussed the ’prepared’ Latin American Economy.

Labbe pointed out how growth in recent years has enabled the region to become prepared for such a global recession and partially safeguard itself.

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